(photo: Ryan Garza/Detroit Free Press-USA TODAY NETWORK)

Auto Show Wraps With Attendance Down, Organizers Excited About Next Year's Summer Show

It will be bigger and better -- and warmer -- than ever.

January 28, 2019 - 8:07 am

(WWJ) The era of the January auto show is now over, going out with somewhat of a whimper, and with carmakers already planning for the first summer show next year. 

About 775,000 people turned out for the final winter event, which is down about 35,000 from the year before.

Now the sights are set on summer 2020.

Bill Golling, the chair of the North American International Auso Show., says show-goers can expect big things from the first summer event with more interaction between cars and customers, and 14 extra acres on the exterior between Cobo and Hart Plaza. The RiverWalk, Campus Martius, and Grand Circus Park will also host the fun when the next show starts the week of June 8th.

Golling said the end of this year's show was sad, and sweet -- and exciting.  

The last sentiment was shared by many; WWJ Auto Beat Reporter Jeff Gilbert reported there seems to be one over riding sentiment after this year's show wrapped up. "We're very excited about it being in June next year; We won't miss the cold weather," Ford President of Operations Joe Hinrichs said.  He added his company has pushed for a summer show for years. 

GM CEO Mary Barra is fully on board, saying her company is already planning outdoor experiences for the show next year.

"Next year, in 2020, will be the foundation, and we're just going to continue to build and of course GM will be a big part of it," Barra told Gilbert.

Cobo will still be the center, but the summertime show promises to expand beyond its current footprint and join a summer full of auto-related events spread throughout the downtown area.

Barra added it's a great opportunity to introduce visitors to the beauty of Detroit. Without worries about freezing and snow, "it gives us a chance to spotlight the city," she said.

For his part, Hinrichs said summertime should make the auto show more of a festival, and attract some automakers who have chosen to sit out in recent years.